Orion Township supervisor details return from China amid coronavirus outbreak

Health scare forces Chris Barnett’s family to travel to China

Orion Township official details trip to China amid coronavirus outbreak

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The family of Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett was forced to travel to China and back amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Barnett said there were some scary moments for his family, but they have since returned to the United States safe and healthy.

His sister, who lives in China, became critically ill, but it was unrelated to the coronavirus.

“She got pneumonia that morphed into sepsis,” Barnett said.

Her two brothers traveled to Shanghai in January to be by her side.

“It was scary,” Barnett said.

When they flew back to Detroit in mid-January, there was no quarantine and the two men had no symptoms. Then, during the second week of February, Barnett flew back overseas to pick up his nieces and nephew and bring them home. That’s when they were stopped at Detroit Metro Airport.

“They pulled us off the plane,” Barnett said. “Customers and Border Patrol -- they knew we were on the plane and had been in China. We were escorted by three Customers and Border Patrol agents, walked to a smaller room where you clear customers -- two men, a hospital bed, equipment, hazmat suits.”

It was an intimidating experience, but the family was again cleared. Barnett’s sister took a medical flight home, and she is recovering.

She and her husband were quarantined and eventually cleared, Barnett said.

Barnett said it’s important to stay vigilant.

“Wash your hands,” Barnett said. “Don’t touch your mouth. That’s the message for residents in Oakland county and Orion Township.”

Barnett said he feels the airport is fully equipped to handle any situation. He saw it first-hand. He also feels like Oakland County is more than prepared, just based on seeing how they handled his sister and her husband.


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